Bio Note: I am 71 and I live with my wife in a village on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. I’ve lived in many places across Australia, including regional and remote communities, and I’ve travelled extensively overseas. I’ve had several poems published in Australia, the US, the UK and Canada, including in Red Ogre, GAS Poetry, Art and Music, and American Diversity Report.
To begin is to end: the lives lived through others, the boundaries of love, the self-graven image, the magazine body, the standard-gauge line, the next logical step, the leg-irons of the country, the glister of the city, the waiting for Death, the defining of Life, the stroking of guilt, and the denial of pride. To begin is to print your own poetic licence and drive wherever you damn well please.
Defiance in the Dust
Episode 1. (in which a wife becomes a widow) "They're Roman Catholics, of course, All those kids, have to be. Don't have any choice really, do they? My God, what a tribe! Still, cheaper by the dozen I always say." And the tongues clacked even louder when your husband went to work one day and his heart sent him home in a coffin. You, the new tribal elder, with no time to rend your clothes or cut your skin or wail into the night survived, your duty to the children and your love for the One (tested in late lonely hours of single terror) ensuring tomorrow and then tomorrow, until automatic again. Episode 2. (in which a widow becomes a wife again) The back door is banging less these days and the youngest stragglers are drifting from the hearth as the familiar face of your husband’s mate comes calling. To your now adult children you deny blushes and your diminishing waistline At first, you do not believe in his belief in you and vent perverse anger at love freely given now; love denied you, in the end, by the dead pal he worships. But, one day, you wake to his passionate patience and begin to drink your fill from the sweet water of his barely savoured well. Episode 3 (in which asbestos taketh away what God has joined together) A cough pulled his face in but his pale Christmas courage gave us recovery myths to share. We all came to be with him and you. You, stronger at your core than us all, solace to kin and doctors alike, determined that you were married to a man and not a patient, At times you even laughed as you prayed, and liberated peace from the arcane clutches of God's death. You, the tribal elder, again no time to rend your clothes or cut your skin or wail into the night, survived for him and your duty to the offspring and your love for the One. But this time, the late lonely hours did not fill you with terror but questions about where you would find automatic tomorrows this time. And you even dared "Why?", in your private silence. After he'd gone, you stood defiantly bareheaded in a hot, dusty churchyard and sang loud your hope of a merciful Heaven as you threw in your share of unmerciful earth knowing that nothing would change tomorrow.
©2022 Doug Jacquier
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